Nelson Clyde: Is It Just Me: Readers choose voices with most distinction


Last week we discussed the question of who owns the most distinctive voice in music. You really had some opinions on the matter. I probably left out Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for harmony with the Eagles being a close second, if not an absolute tie. Feel free to weigh in if you missed the party last week.

Here are your answers to the challenge first postulated by Chris Simons 33 years ago:

To the question you asked in the article above: it's definitely Steve Perry no questions asked at all, (I say this as I'm literally watching a Journey documentary/concert on my laptop now)! But seriously he's the best of all time!!!!!!




Hands down, Barbra Streisand.



Elvis gets my vote.




Just finished reading your article in Sunday's Tyler paper and just had to respond.

First off, my name is Michael and I spent nearly 40 years in the radio business from 1972 through 2011, primarily in Austin, San Antonio and Houston. I worked many different formats, so here's my list of most distinctive voices:

ROCK (Male): Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and David Clayton Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears

ROCK (Female): Stevie Nicks

SOUL (Male): Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder

SOUL (Female): Aretha Franklin

COUNTRY (Male): Trace Adkins

COUNTRY (Female): Loretta Lynn

CROONER: Tony Bennett


I know, everyone has their opinions, but being a music lover, these are my choices. My wife and I live in Tyler now and I enjoy your column. Take care.


My candidate is Kate Smith. The song she was famous for is God Bless America. What makes this great is not only her unique voice, but that she was singing this song during WWII. Think what a wonderful effect this must have had on public morale and determination to win.



Willie Nelson

Mick Jagger


Tiny Tim


Willie Nelson,



In my opinion, the most distinctive voice in music across the spectrum of time would be Roy Orbison.



Janis Joplin

"Distinctive" implies recognizable, not necessarily good quality. I think Cocker would top my list, followed by Janis, but I can think of a hundred others. Just a few: Karen Carpenter, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Johnny Mathis, Louis Armstrong, Neil Young, Tiny Tim. I'm 65, so that gives me an advantage "across the spectrum of time."


I, too, love Steve Perry and Journey, but the first time I saw them on a TV video, I truly couldn't decide if the singer was a man or an ugly woman. High voice, long hair, makeup, etc. And, that guy from the Philippines that's singing with Journey nowadays really nails it.

I do enjoy your column. Thanks!

Dr. Joe


Immediately, Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson came to mind, along with Mac Powell of Third Day, a contemporary Christian band, as easily recognizable voices. Will they stand the test of time or be THE most distinctive voice in music? Probably not, but I'd dare say listeners of these music venues easily know these voices.



Definitely, Bing Crosby! His distinctive trill and crooning voice are easily recognized within two words of any song.



I am with Chris! Steve Perry! "The Voice"



Definitely Steve Perry. From 1978-80 he refined his range and power, and in the early '80s was as good as anyone could get, live. Another great rock voice with range and power was Mickey Thomas of Elvin Bishop, and Jefferson Starship.



Distinct Voices

Geddy Lee of Rush

Roy Orbison

Phil and Don Everly

Tom Waits

Neil Young

Jon Anderson of Yes

Bob Dylan

Ray Price

Mavis Staples

Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes

Howlin' Wolf


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